Friday, October 29, 2010

Plants are good for us...

Plant Sterols and Stanols: What they Are and Why they Are Important
Plant sterols and stanols are found naturally in the cell walls of plants; they occur in very small amounts in foods such as fruits, vegetables and vegetable oils, seeds, beans, and cereal grains. More than 80 clinical studies support the benefits of plant sterol and stanol consumption for lowering blood cholesterol levels, especially LDL ("bad") cholesterol, without lowering levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol.

How they Work
Plant sterols and stanols have been shown in numerous studies to lower LDL cholesterol. Because they're similar in structure to cholesterol, they compete for absorption in the intestines. So with regular consumption of plant sterols and stanols, less cholesterol gets absorbed into the bloodstream, and the better your chances for lowering your LDL cholesterol.

Don't Miss Out on the Benefits of Plant Sterols and Stanols
So if you want to lower your cholesterol levels, try following the guidelines from the National Institutes of Health: Reduce your intake of saturated fat and cholesterol, exercise daily, lose weight if needed, and eat plenty of fiber-rich whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. And don't forget to get the extra cholesterol-lowering benefit that comes from adding 2,000 mg of clinically proven plant sterols and stanols to your diet every day.

Shaklee ID: WM06529

...and most of these plants have been organically cultivated...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Careless Consumerist Consumption

Oh great mammon of form and function,
Careless consumerist consumption,
Dangerous dysfunction, described as expensive taste.

I’m a people disgraced by what I claim I need,
And what I want to waste.
I take no account for nothing if it’s not mine.
It’s a misappropriation of funds,
Protect my ninety percent with my guns.
Whose side am I on?
Well who’s winning?

My kingdom’s built with the blood of slaves,
Orphans, widows, and homeless graves.
I sold their souls just to build my private mansion.
Some people say that my time is coming.
Kingdom come is the justice running,
Down, down, down on me.

I’m a poor child, I’m a lost son
I refuse to give my love to anyone.
Fight for the truth, or help the weaker ones.
Because I love my Babylon.
I am a slave, I was never free.
I betrayed you for blood money.
Oh I bought the world, all is vanity.
Oh my Lord I’m your enemy.

Come to Me, and find your life,
Children sing, Zion’s in sight.
I said don’t trade your name for a serial number.
Priceless lives were born from under graves
Where I found you.

Say, My name ain’t yours and yours is not Mine
Mine is The Lord, and yours is my child.
That’s how it’s always been.
Time to make a change.
Leave your home, give to the poor all that you own,
Lose your life, so that you could find it.

First will be last when the true world comes.
Livin’ like a humble fool to overcome,
The upside-down wisdom of a dying world.
Zion’s not built with hands,
And in this place God will dwell with man.
Sick be healed and cripples stand!

Sing Hallelujah!!!

My kingdom’s built with the blood of my son,
Selfless sacrifice for everyone.
Faith, hope, love, and harmony.
I said let this world know me by your love,
By your love.

Oh my child, daughters and sons,
I made you in love to overcome.
Free as a bird, my flowers in the sun,
On your way to Mount Zion.
All you slaves, be set free!

Come on out child and come on home to me!
We will dance, we will rejoice,
If you can hear me then follow my voice.

--- Zion and Babylon by Josh Garrels (

(Chinese factory photos from

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Another perspective on sowing and reaping...

The following are excerpts from an essay by Wendell Berry called 'Conserving Forest Communities' in a book of essays named Another Turn of the Crank (1995).

...The history of these now-forested slopes over the last two centuries can be characterized as a cyclic alternation of abuse and neglect. Their best hope, so far, has been neglect-though even neglect has often involved their degradation by livestock grazing. So far, almost nobody has tried to figure out or has even wondered what might be the best use and the best care for such places...The soil, though not so deep as it once was, is healing from agricultural abuse and, because of the forest cover, is increasing in fertility...

... And so as I look at my home landscape, I am happy to see that I am to a considerable extent a forest dweller. But I am unhappy to remember every time I look (for the landscape itself reminds me) that I am a dweller in a forest for which there is, properly speaking, no local forest culture and no local forest economy. That is to say that I live in a threatened forest... woodlands as I have been describing are now mostly ignored so long as they are young. After the trees have reached marketable size, especially in a time of agricultural depression, the landowners come under pressure to sell them. And then the old cycle is repeated, as neglect is once more superseded by abuse...The economy of this kind of forestry is apt to be as deplorable as its ecology...

And so Kentucky forestry, at present, is mainly of two kinds: the casual and careless logging that is hardly more than an afterthought of farming, and the large-scale exploitation of the forest by absentee owners of corporations. Neither kind is satisfactory...we have never understood that the only appropriate human response to a diversified forest ecosystem is a diversified local forest economy... the summer of 1982, according to an article in California Forestry Notes, three men, using five horses, removed 400,780 board feet from a 35.5-acre tract in Latour State Forest. This was a "thinning operation." Two of the men worked full time as teamsters, using two horses each; one man felled the trees and did some skidding with a single horse. The job required sixty-four days. It was profitable both for the state forest and for the operator. During the sixty-four days the skidders barked a total of eight trees, only one of which was damaged badly enough to require removal. Soil disturbance in the course of the operation was rated as "slight."

At the end of this article the author estimates that a tractor could have removed the logs two and a half times as fast as the horses. And thus he implies a question that he does not attempt to answer: Is it better for two men and four horses to work sixty-four days, or for one man and one machine to do the same work in twenty-five and a half days?...

A good forest economy, like any other good land-based economy, would aim to join the local human community and the local natural community or ecosystem together as conservingly and as healthfully as possible...
A good forest economy:
would be a local economy,
would be a decentralized economy,
would be owned locally,
would preserve the local forest in its native diversity, quality, health, abundance, and beauty,
would be properly scaled,
would be locally complex,
would make good forestry attractive to landowners, providing income from recreational uses of their woodlands, markets for forest products other than timber, and so on...,
would be much interested in local education,
would be a long-term economy,
would be patient,
would be unselfish...

...for good foresters must always look toward harvests that they will not live to reap.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sowing and reaping…

"Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for G-d loves a cheerful giver. And G-d is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work."
-2 Corinthians 9:6-8

What do we want to reap? What are we sowing? If we want to be loved, we should sow love - “Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39). If we want forgiveness, we should sow forgiveness – “…forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us…” (Matthew 6:12). If you want health, sow health in to your own life and the lives around you. Stop eating unhealthy food and get rid of the hazardous chemicals at your house. Everyone around you will benefit.

If we want to reap financial abundance, we should sow generously and cheerfully into the good work G-d is doing. A particular story we have heard in several contexts is about a person who decides to tithe on their next year’s income. Stepping out in faith, believing they will get bonuses and promotions, praying consistently, and giving over and above what is expected. These people always experience financial blessing and in many stories experience health, peace, love, and joy as well!

G-d’s resources are limitless, His love – enduring, His acceptance – full, His promises – conditional.

“If you fully obey The LORD your G-d and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, The LORD your G-d will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come upon you and accompany you if you obey The LORD your G-d…” – Deuteronomy 28

The blessings that follow are diverse and many. That particular chapter also list curses that follow when we do not listen or obey G-d. We may not understand or agree with G-d’s ways and purposes, but they are wisdom and they are life.

So let’s take Isaiah’s advice…

Seek The LORD while he may be found; call on Him while He is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts.
Let him turn to The LORD, and He will have mercy on him,
and to our G-d, for He will freely pardon.
"For My Thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My Ways,"
declares The LORD.
"As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are My Ways higher than your ways
and My Thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return to it without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is My Word that goes out from My Mouth:
It will not return to Me empty, but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
- Isaiah 55:6-12

Singing hills?  Clapping trees?  G-d's will accomplished.  Nice!!!